We’re bombarded with news and information everyday. But when it comes to decisions about buying; simple, relevant, effective words are key.Here are some guidelines on to how to write effective copy that influences behaviour.
What makes people tick? The key is to appeal to their emotions. People make decisions about buying on emotion first, and reason second, so your copy needs to speak their language, and do so quickly. The human element is very important in sales and content marketing. You need to be able to engage people with real words that actually mean something, and don’t just sound like business waffle.
In general we (the reader) have a very limited attention span for commercial material. That doesn’t mean that copy should always be short, but it should get your message across in as few words as possible. Make it simple and get straight to the point. Clean, concise copy that creates empathy and an emotional engagement with your audience will build trust, and tip the decision towards buying.
Writing for the web and SEO
When writing for online content you have only a few seconds to make an impression before your visitor clicks over to another page. A good design will help the site be enjoyable to use, but it’s the words that have the power to engage and sell. You need to make a direct and personal appeal to the user to attract their attention, so remember you’re speaking to a real person!
The copy needs to be simple, concise and jargon-free, with a personal tone and strong call to action to lead the visitor through the site. They need to know what’s in it for them, or they’ll be off in a flash.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is making sure search engines to know exactly what your web page is about by giving your page the right words, the right number of times, in the right place. But SEO writing is all about balance. A balance between getting in those search terms and keywords weaved skilfully into copy to register them with search engines, but still retaining sense and interest when read.
If you stuff your copy with keywords you’ll attract more visitors, but that’s pointless unless they actually want to read what’s there. Repetitive content will flick their ‘off’ switch and send them running from the boredom of reading.
Remember that SEO copywriting isn’t just for websites. News releases, articles and blog posts can all be optimised to include specific keywords. Just make sure they’re kept at a level that reads well.
Written in the right way, a corporate brochure is a very useful marketing tool. It can be a great, tangible way of telling your customers what you’re all about: your values, what kind of business you are, and your products. Brochures can send out a strong message about your company and give your sales team the edge. Get it wrong, and they’re a very expensive way to bore your customers.
You need to get the content right. Less company bluster and corporate speak. More of what will encourage your customers to do what you want them to do. You need to give them a reason to spend the time of day reading your brochure. Give them information they’ll want: the benefits of your product or service, how what your company does or makes can make their lives easier. Then your brochure will be pulling its weight.
Sales letters and direct mail can have a very short lifespan from the doormat to the bin.
But done in the right way, sales letters that get opened can be an extremely powerful sales tool. If they’re personally addressed, personally signed and written in the right tone of voice, your company can get a one-way ticket to your reader’s full attention. The focus? A very convincing sales pitch.
Write your sales letter speaking to the reader, not at the reader, with all the benefits (not just features) at the top. If it’s both addressed and addressing the prospect in the right way, it will get noticed.
A newsletter is a great way to establish your brand, keep your customers up to date with special offers, and help them to connect with your business.
It’s easy to measure the success of your e-zine. There’s plenty of reporting software which lets you see who’s opened it, who’s forwarded it, and what link they’ve clicked on.
Your newsletter is a great way to build a better relationship with your best prospects: your subscribers. It gives you a way to contact with your customers on a regular basis, remind them that you exist, and give them stuff to read that interests them. Do that right and you’ll have a faithful following.
There is one catch: it HAS to be pleasurable to read and useful to them, or they’ll be reaching for the unsubscribe button. So fill your newsletter with interesting stories, tips and tricks. Be indispensable and brighten your customer’s day, and they’ll be reaching out to connect with you.
E-mails are a brilliant way to keep in touch with a huge audience and encourage a change in behaviour that will benefit your business.
You have less than a second to persuade your reader that your email is worth a glance. Is it relevant? Is it worth their time? Once opened, the email has to have enough impact and meaning to make the reader keep reading, against the ticking clock of their patience.
So you’ll need a great subject line, and a bit of personality helps. Inside, put all the interesting stuff up top. Don’t make your reader have to look for it, or they won’t bother. Remember that your email is to real people, from a real person, so forget any jargon and use plain English. Think creatively – if you can tap into the hearts and minds of your readers, then you’ll build their trust and have a captive audience who’ll want your content, and who’ll listen to your persuasion.
AdWords, or Pay Per Click Ads are a straightforward way to get the reader to do two things – click on your advert, and convert that click into a sale.
The success of your AdWords campaign depends on how well your PPC ads are written. For such a short ad, this is can be a tall order.
It needs to explain what’s on offer, what the benefits are, and that all-important call to action. No jargon, just plain English that cuts through the surrounding noise.
It needs to be specific, concise, and extremely effective at attracting both the reader’s attention and interest. Make it slick, and you’ll get the click.
Writing a blog is the quickest way to get fresh, optimised content on to your website on a regular basis. Search engines love them, because it shows your site is current and well-cared for. Your blog posts need to be educational, informative and entertaining. But they’re time-consuming, and someone needs to be on top of it.
A blog is an opportunity to establish your business as an authority in your industry. It helps you form relationships with potential customers. And, of course, it allows you to show that you really know what you’re talking about. Showing off can pay off.
Make sure your blog is interesting, useful, and updated, and you’ll give your customers good reason to do business with you.
Press releases are way great way to gain credibility for of your product or company in the media without the taint of commercialism. It’s not an advert, so readers are naturally less suspicious. But there are two hard and fast rules to writing press releases:
It MUST be newsworthy. And it MUST be relevant to their readers.
The resulting article will be a great way to enhance your reputation and get positive PR for your business. Editorial is widely regarded as more effective at influencing behaviour and opinions than advertising. They have a huge advantage in their credibility with readers, due to their perceived neutrality.
The key to a good press release lies in the subject matter, and how you present it. Journalists are looking for something that will be of genuine interest to their readers, and written in a style that fits with their publication. And the headline must be bang on.
Make sure your press release is tailored for the title its aimed at, and put all the news right at the top. Make it easy for the journalist to get what s/he wants, and you’re on to a winner.
Adverts can feel a little unwelcome. Seeing a commercial plug planted smack bang in the middle of your favourite magazine, or staring you in the face across a platform is often going to arouse a little hostility.
Your ad needs to work hard to get your customer’s attention, to overcome initial reluctance, and give the reader something that appeals to them. How will they benefit? How will it make their life easier? You have to give them a reason to look, and read on.
You need a great headline. The right tone of voice that connects with your audience. Body copy that is emotionally appealing, and clearly explains the benefits of your product or service. (If your reader feels moved after reading it, you’ve successfully sold your product). A few testimonials to reassure your reader, and a call to action that shouts out – they won’t be able to ignore the incentive you’ve given them.